‘Mission Mt. Mangart’ showing at The Westin Riverfront Thursday
Award-winning documentary by local Warren Miller film star Chris Anthony makes its way back to Vail
If you haven’t seen “Mission Mt. Mangart” yet, now’s your chance. The documentary will be shown at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Avon Thursday night.
Written, directed, edited and produced by Vail filmmaker Chris Anthony, “Mission Mt. Mangart” chronicles the events leading up to June 3, 1945, when a ski race was held in the former Yugoslavia, hosted and organized by the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division.
The 10th Mountain Division was the winter warfare unit that trained for battles in Europe during World War II just south of Vail at Camp Hale, located between Red Cliff and Leadville. These troops fought the pivotal battles of Mount Belvedere and Riva Ridge, for which the longest ski run on Vail Mountain was named. The 10th “did the impossible” and surprised Nazi Germany and broke down the Gothic Line in the Apennine Mountains in Italy.
Much of the modern-day outdoor industry was started or influenced by members of the 10th Mountain Division when they came back to the U.S. after World War II ended.
The documentary has unique interviews with members of the 10th and footage from that era, as well as reenactments of the race on Mt. Mangart, since no photos or footage could be found.
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Since its debut at the Boettcher Concert Hall with musical accompaniment by the Colorado Symphony in November, Anthony has taken the film to locations in Colorado, Michigan, Montana, the Pacific Northwest, Italy and Fort Drum, New York, home of the current 10th Mountain Division.
“It’s so interesting to see the reactions of the audience members depending on where we are showing the film,” Anthony said.
“At Fort Drum, it really hit the active-duty soldiers emotionally. They had more of a sense of what the first members of the 10th went through, and their gratitude was evident of that.”
In Portland, Oregon, the grandson of Charles Minot “Minnie” Dole, the founder of the 10th Mountain Division, was helpful during the Q&A with the audience.
“It’s great when we have someone in the audience who has a deep connection to the history of the 10th Mountain Division. The audience and I learn so much more,” Anthony said.
In Montana, Anthony learned about a connection between a member of the 10th and Whitefish Mountain ski resort.
“I was skiing with some of the local school kids and we went down a run called Toni Matt and I recognized that name during my research and he’s mentioned in the movie, and I didn’t know that this 10th Mountain Division member went on to start that ski area,” Anthony said.
At the film screening last month at Vail Mountain School, the Slovenian Mountain Troops were in town for Vail Legacy Week and came to the film. “That got back to the Ministry of Defense in Slovenia and they want me to come and do a showing there on June 3,” Anthony said. “We’re also looking at a showing in Kitzbuhel, Austria in September and at Dartmouth College in November,” Anthony said.
These film screenings are only done in person, so take advantage of seeing it this week at The Westin Riverfront’s Riverside Ballroom. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the movie begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for kids aged 5-12.
Proceeds from the evening, which will also feature displays by the Colorado Snowsports Museum and the Vail Valley’s 10th Mountain Whiskey and live music by Erica Brown, will benefit the Chris Anthony Youth Initiative Project. For more information or to reserve your spot, please visit RiverfrontDining.com/specials/.
What: “Mission Mount Mangart”
Where: Westin Riverfront in Avon
When: Thursday, Mar. 24 — Doors open at 6 p.m., movie begins at 7 p.m. followed by a Q&A with Chris Anthony
Cost: $30 for adults and $15 for kids aged 5-12
Registration Required: RiverfrontDining.com/specials/